Second fatality reported in 99 pileup

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webmaster | 02/02/05
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The 24-year-old woman involved in an eight-car crash Jan. 27 died Monday in a Fresno hospital.

Tondi Marie Mason of Modesto was critically injured when a man highway patrol officers believe to be 39-year-old Douglas Scott Dir of Santa Maria drove north in the southbound lanes of State Route 99.

Mason was the mother of a 3-year-old boy.

Dir, who is in critical but stable condition in a Fresno hospital, was intoxicated at the time of the collision, CHP officer Chris Pia said.

The other victims in the crash have all been released from the hospital, Pia said.

Shortly after 1 a.m. Jan. 27, highway patrol received a report of a wrong way driver. Dir struck a Ford Taurus driven by Madera resident Joseph Paul Rodriguez, 20, killing him, the CHP said.

The initial crash caused a chain reaction that resulted in a total of eight vehicles, two of which were big rigs, colliding. A section of the highway, between Avenues 18 and 17, were closed down for about 10 hours.

Five people were injured in the crash.

Pia said charges against Dir are still pending. Those charges, he said, include two counts of manslaughter and various charges for the other injured parties, in addition to drunken driving charges.

The collision remains under investigation by the department’s Major Accident Investigation Team.

 

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